Useful tips on how to handle a conference call — January 10, 2019

Useful tips on how to handle a conference call

Are you frightened of speaking English in a conference call just because you might not understand?

Speaking English is challenging, but during a conference call and in front of your colleagues, your boss and other business partners can be really stressful!

It can get easier if you follow some tips:

 Prepare Ahead

  • Think about the vocabulary and expressions you would like to use

Greetings

  • Keep it simple with: Hello/Good morning/Good afternoon

Have some Paper and a Pen

  • You might need to take notes

Show you’re listening

Use expressions such as:

  • Oh, I see
  • Right
  • Exactly

Repeat Important Details

Never be afraid to repeat relevant information to make sure it’s correct.

Don’t Be Afraid to Ask

Don’t be afraid to ask for clarification, repetition, or to slow down!

What we need is CLEAR COMMUNICATION!

 

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Is there a way to say Befana in English? — January 5, 2019

Is there a way to say Befana in English?

Unfortunately there is not a word for it in English. It simply does not exist in the English tradition.

So, what does the Festivity of Befana match with in the English calendar?

It is the festival of Epiphany, which stems from Greek and stands for manifestation. The Church celebrates this day as the moment when the three Wise Men (also called kings) came to visit the Holy Child in Bethlehem and when the Baby Christ was manifested to the whole world. Their names were Gaspar (India), Melchior (Persia) and Balthasar (Arabia).

This explains why the word Epiphany in English can also stand for a moment of enlightenment, of deep understanding. The Epiphany marks the end of the Christmas season and, in the past you were supposed to take down all Christmas decorations on this day.

Having said that, the Italian Befana resembles the ordinary English witch riding a broom. Yet, it is different to the witches of English descent. Operating a tight flight schedule, the Italian sibling, though old and ugly-looking, delivers gifts to children and never casts spells or any such evil things on individuals or congregations. She brings stockings with candies if you behaved in the year. If you did not, she delivers a stocking with edible sweet charcoal reminding you of your misdeeds.

 

la-befana

What are your New Year’s resolutions? — December 28, 2018
How to translate correctly and fearlessly — November 27, 2018

How to translate correctly and fearlessly

English students very often need translations for themselves and for friends as well. The funniest part of it all is when you need to translate from your language into English. It can drive you nuts, but please, don’t lose heart. Here is some advice for you.

Remember that what you want to translate will be subjected to English readers. So, bear in mind that it has to sound English, and, what sometimes has sense in Italian can sound a conundrum or senseless in English. However, let’s see some common or less common mistakes.

Settimana bianca

In English you cannot possibly say white week as it would be considered as opposed to black week, which does not exist so far. So, you might like to translate this expression as a skiing holiday, which English people will find perfectly understandable.

Faccio il ponte

You would not hopefully like to translate this expression as I’m making a bridge. Think if you were a chef in a restaurant, for example. But you can say instead I’m having a long weekend. In other words, your usual customers would be deprived of your specialities for two-three days but then you would be back and delight them with your dishes once again, rather than challenging them of facing the perils of crossing a bridge that you have built during your short absence.

Sotto la pioggia; Sotto la luna; sotto i riflettori

The cat is under the table, say kids. It wouldn’t ’be possible for you to say under the rain. But you can well say I was out in the rain and I’m drenched now. If this sounds difficult, try to remember the song Dancing in the rain.

Under the moon would not be possible either, as it suggests that you are exactly under that gorgeous planet, not an inch more to the left or to the right. So, to begin with, try to analyse what the original expression in Italian stands for. Does it not mean, perhaps, that you are enjoying the moonlight and Romeo or Juliet have long gone green with envy?

In fact, you can translate this expression as in the moonlight.

Though a big fan of the Italian singer Zucchero, the lyrics in English in his song Baila Morena, I fear, should have been in the moonlight / sotto luna piena (not: under the moonlight).

The same goes for sotto i riflettori. In English it matches in the spotlight.

 

translate blog

 

Not only Black Friday — November 21, 2018

Not only Black Friday

The first recorded use of the term “Black Friday” was applied not to holiday shopping but to financial crisis: specifically, the crash of the U.S. gold market on September 24, 1869.

Back in the 1950s, police and bus drivers in the city of Philadelphia used the term to describe the heavy traffic that would clog city streets the day after Thanksgiving as shoppers headed to the stores.

However, companies didn’t like the negative tone associated with the Black Friday name. In the early 1980s, a more positive explanation of the name began to circulate.

According to this alternative explanation, Black Friday is the day when retailers finally begin to turn a profit for the year. In accounting terms, operating at a loss (losing money) is called being “in the red” because accountants traditionally used red ink to show negative amounts (losses).

Positive amounts (profits) were usually shown in black ink. Thus, being “in the black” is a good thing because it means stores are operating at a profit (making money).

The recent popularity of Black Friday has created a couple of new shopping holidays: Cyber Monday and Giving Tuesday. For those who are too busy to shop on Black Friday — or who just don’t want to fight the crowds — the Monday following Black Friday has become known as Cyber Monday for the many online deals that shoppers can take advantage of from the comfort of their homes.  GivingTuesday was established in 2012 as a day of generosity and philanthropy. On the Tuesday following Thanksgiving, individuals, organizations and communities celebrate and encourage giving to charities and those in need. What a wonderful way to celebrate the holidays!